Monday, August 15, 2011

Revisit: Artichoke Basille Pizza, MacDougal Street, East Village NYC

We found ourselves at the intersection of Minetta Lane and MacDougal Street on a rainy August Sunday, a half-hour early for meeting another couple for a pre-theatre glass of wine at The Olive Tree. I glanced down the street and less than half a block away was the wonderful Artichoke Basille pizza slice joint. What better way to pass 30 minutes? We had visited just a few months earlier and liked it:  June Review of AB Pizza

Last time, I enjoyed the margherita slice. I read some reviews about the namesake artichoke slice, but so many described it as covered in a rich cream sauce that I was scared off (not by the potential taste, but by the calories). I opted for the square slice, or Sicilian as they call it.  Four bucks.

Sicilian slice at Artichoke Basille, 8/14/11

It came out of the oven quickly. It was standard sized (not massive like the slices from round pies there). Once again, I noted the sauce, which was a beautiful red and had a vibrant flavor to match. It seemed to have a layer of conventional mozzarella on it and also a generous grating of some other aged Italian cheese. Good, but not great cheese.

The crust was spectacular!  It was heavily oiled, such that I think it practically fried in its original pan. It had a savory golden crunch on the surface, with some darker char that was not bitter. It was a bit more yielding on the inside, like the texture of good bread well toasted. It provided fantastic support for the sauce and cheese.

Underside of the crust

Criticism? I liked the additional of fresh basil on the top, but upon reheat the basil becomes a wet leaf that tends to pull entirely off the pie in a single bite. Would be better to add the basil after re-heating or to chop it more finely. The cheese was good but not great like the sauce and crust.

I could almost declare this the BEST Sicilian slice ever. It is better than Wegman's tomato pie, it is better than the legendary squares at L&B Spumoni Gardens. However, it did not eclipse the square pie at DiFara's, where Dom DiMarco likewise uses lots of oil to get a golden crispy crust.

I am giving the sauce a 9.5, the cheese a 6, and the crust a 9.5. All told, this slice is a 9. I don't think any Sicililan slice can compete with a thin-crust Trenton style, such as the other pizza here or the world-class pizza at DiFara or DeLorenzo's on Hudson Street. But this square slice is among the best in this style.

Artichoke Basille's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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